How Drugs Can Help
Moms shouldn't resist medication; the risks of untreated depression are worse than those of the commonly prescribed treatments, says Dr. Patrick Finley. And drugs can be enormously effective in alleviating the crippling symptoms of depression. Some can be safely taken while breastfeeding, so nursing doesn't need to be a reason to avoid medication. The drugs show up in breast milk, but in concentrations low enough that doctors don't believe they cause harm.
Doctors generally start patients on the lowest dose. It may take several tries before they hit on the right drug, and once that happens, Dr. Finley recommends staying on it for at least six months because studies have shown that going off antidepressants too soon ups the risk of relapse.